What is elbow replacement surgery?
If your elbow constantly hurts and is stiff from arthritis or other causes, elbow replacement surgery is an option. Surgery can help relieve chronic pain and restore motion to a damaged elbow.
Elbow replacement surgery (sometimes referred to as total elbow arthroplasty) is an operation that surgeons use to relieve pain and restore motion to a damaged elbow. During this surgery, a doctor replaces your elbow joint with an artificial joint.
Elbow replacement surgery does not always involve the entire elbow. In some people, doctors replace only part of the joint, such as the radial head (the knobby head of the radius bone where it meets the elbow).
Several conditions can lead to elbow pain and instability that may be best treated with a partial or full replacement surgery.
Osteoarthritis – An age-related condition that causes elbow cartilage to weaken and wear away. This may lead to bones rubbing together and causing pain or elbow disability.
Rheumatoid Arthritis – A disease that causes chronic inflammation to the elbow joint that can damage cartilage and cause pain and stiffness.
Post-traumatic Arthritis – A type of arthritis that is caused by a previous elbow injury. Bone fractures or ligament injuries can lead to damage of the surrounding cartilage and lead to pain.
Severe Fractures – Damage or a break to the lower portion of the arm. Shattered bones are difficult to repair and may need artificial replacement.
Elbow Replacement Surgery Recovery Time
Elbow replacement surgery recovery times may vary but generally full use of the repaired elbow is possible within 12 weeks. It will be best to avoid high impact activities for around six months to reduce the probability of poor healing and loosening of artificial implants.